A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Marvin X at Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland photo Pendarvis Harshaw
Often we dream a dream impossible, and in our starry-eyed romanticism, clouded by our rose colored glasses, we imagine a world of make believe possibilities. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream so far-fetched it reached the pathological. He thought integration was the endgame, yet it destroyed the very foundation of our self sufficiency, self determination and most certainly, our economic independence. From our own schools, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses, we now spend our money with others who will never spend their monies with us. We sit in their restaurants eating food that tastes like shit, just to feel good about ourselves, yes, feeling good while our own restaurants go out of business. Our women don their Sunday best to meet in white restaurants for Sunday Brunch, most often alone or with their sisters, eating and trying to unravel the conundrum of their lives complete with everything except the black man, their natural partner, the only one who can fully understand their centuries of suffering, trauma and unresolved grief.
Of course, our women have achieved educational and economic success and cannot understand why their warrior man has not achieved equity with them and most especially with the white man, the life long enemy of them both. So while they eat Sunday brunch alone, their shining prince is lost and turned out on the way to grandmother's house! Yes, he's doing his best to escape the police, another brother and/or sister that is out to take him to the dungeon, especially if he is a natural born warrior, yes, incorrigible and recalcitrant! Yes, he refuses to submit to the white man, black man or woman. He is an independent thinker and actor and cries freedom while his brother and woman most often are passive and conservative, locked in their survival mode, thus they fear him and the perilous agenda he has in mind that ultimately involves chopping off the head of his oppressor. As Fanon noted, what is the role of the oppressed except to replace the oppressor, to annihilate him once and for all times! Ok, revolution is to achieve state power by any means necessary, yes, liberty or death! But power, Black power in black face, not Miller Lite power, neo-colonial power, fake power, diluted, polluted, pasteurized and homogenized power! Raw uncut power to the people, not for the glory of revolutionaries to out oppress the previous regime (s).
Often times, in their futile attempt to reach the supposed humanity of the oppressor and their children, none of which are willing to give up white privilege without a fierce struggle that includes denial of any addiction to white supremacy, our children languish in dreams of Martin Luther Kingism, that ultimately become a nightmare!
It is most difficult to forgive our children for their romanticism and idealism, for persisting in their dreams of equality and equity, even apology and reparations that would be natural to human beings grounded in the natural world. Our dreamers find it difficult to imagine the 1% is quite satisfied to own as much as the 90%. And even the so called white middle class is satisfied, especially the white liberals who march with Black Lives Matter folks, then purchase the homes of Blacks who are then forced into homelessness, including living in cars and tents. And to trick the Blacks one last time, the neo-colonial whites put Black Lives Matter sings in the windows of their newly purchased homes in case the homeless hoards decide to return to adjudicate the cause of black homelessness. Yet the blacks, in the midst of their dreams becoming full blown nightmares, continue their mantras of I'm Cool, I'm Woke and I'm Kemetic, without any notion of transcending the Kemetic genius of their ancestors. Dr. Nathan Hare says they are lost in the Kingdom of Africana, wherever the fuck that is, most certainly it is not on earth, but another fantastic notion in the so-called Negroes world of make believe. At least President Donald Trump is telling his people about fake news, but we continue with our utter romanticism, idealism and psychosis, yes, a total break with reality.
And so our children want to believe in the goodness of all humans, though they are ultimately forced to realize some humans ain't humans, and this defies, most especially, their pseudo liberal academic training, simply because in the real world there are devils, beasts, snakes and other toxic creatures out to devour us all. Amiri Baraka noted, "We send our children to colleges and universities and they come home hating us and everything we're about, and they don't even know what we're about!" Dr. Wade Nobles noted, "While our young men are in prison, our young women are in academic prisons", sent there by sincere parents who only want their daughters to find mates, yet after achieving academic success with a plethora of PhDs and MBAs, must settle for a nigguh doing 25 to life or a mate outside the group or simply mate with each other. And imagine what this last point says about the future of the black nation. But in their dream state, it is what it is and it ain't no thang. But in any war and especially in America's war against North American Africans, the men must be eliminated or confined while the women are booty, i.e., the spoils of war. With black men eliminated, what choice do women have but to love each other and to configure a male/female partnership in same gender loving relationships. And those brothers unwilling to don the persona of Superman, submit to the she-man although we cannot deny the role of gay brothers in our liberation struggle. But tell me how gay/lesbian culture perpetuates our race! The sad truth is that gay brothers long ago informed me that the gay flag does not represent them, thus no matter what you are and claim to be, we are nigguhs in America and shall remain such no matter what gender and/or family configurations. None of us can escape the ultimate persona of the revolutionary, of Superman and Superwoman! We all share the burden of our ancestors to redeem our chips with the cashier of freedom. As per gender, the male is the first objective in war, again, women are booty and/or spoils of war. All others are simply additional booty. For sure, revolution only becomes possible when all sectors of society join, e.g., workers, artists, intellectuals, women, men, same gender loving people, youth, students, elders, politicians, et al.
But reality is a mother! Reality shatters the romanticism and idealism of even millennial dreams for a PC world. When they discover the pervasiveness of white supremacy, especially when they see its effects on their children, they are suddenly ready to rethink their romantic notions. One of my daughters told her sister she had become an undercover Garveyite, yes, after an education at Yale and Stanford that taught her Garvey was a damn fool! But she discovered white supremacy in the educational system of pseudo-liberal Berkeley, California, forcing her to home school her children, especially after observing the treatment of black boys!
As we enter 2018, I urge you to take off your rose-colored glasses and face reality. Surely, it is now obvious a black president cannot save us, something we should have known from the politics of Africa, the Caribbean and half a century of black elected politicians who are basically sycophants of the Democratic Party. Yes, Donald Trump is the white lash, the natural response to that toxic niggah who defiled the White House, even though it was designed and built by Africans, as was most of America. We should be happy President Trump and his white nationalism will force us, perhaps even by force of whip, to gather the energy to defy the reality of our wretched condition and make that awesome trek up the mountain from the dungeon of Toby to the Upper Room of Kunta Kinte's father's house. Yes, this trek up the mountain must finally and forever be a communal trek that transcends the myth of Sisyphus and all other myths that are not rooted in the abolitionist tradition, that do not end with a total victory of the oppressed over the oppressor. Stay Woke! --Marvin X 12/29/17
Don't Miss The Nigga Debate
Marvin X will play the devil's advocate:
Nigger fa life!
MONDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2017
Marvin X notes on the upcoming Nigga Debate at The Qilombo
The Psycho-linguistic Crisis of the North American African
4/16/98 (c) 1998 By Marvin X www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com
I have long wanted to discuss language problems relating to the psychology of the oppressed. Let's begin with the notion that the oppressed is a disoriented person suffering symptoms of amnesia :he is not quite sure who he is, where he is, where he came from or where he is going.
We know to a great extent he was stripped of his cultural trappings and forced to don the apparel of the so-called negro, for American slavery would not allow him to retain knowledge of his African self--it was a danger to the slave master's plan of eternal servitude. So the proud African was beaten down from Kunta Kinte to Toby, perhaps the first level in his psycho-linguistic crisis: who am I, what is my name? Once in the Americas, he was no longer Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo, Congo, Ashante but Negro, and according to Grimm's law (the consonants C,K, and G being interchangeable) he was a dead, from the Greek Necro, something dead, lifeless, without motion and spirit. Of course, he retained some of his African consciousness in the deep structure of his mind, in the bowels of his soul and he expressed it in his dance, his love life, his work habits, his songs and shouts, but basically he was a trumatized victim of kidnapping, rape and mass murder--genocide, for after all, when it was all said and done, between 50 and 100 million of his brothers and sisters were lost in the Middle Passage, the voyage between Africa and the Americas, thrown to the sharks that trailing slave ships, one of which was named Jesus, perhaps the same one whose captain had the miraculous conversion and wrote the song Amazing Grace! But changing the African into Negro was a primary problem in terms of identity which persists until today, even as we speak a new generation is now in crisis trying to decide whether they shall be called by Christian, Muslim or traditional African names, trying to decide whether they are Americans, Afro-Americans, African-Americans, Bilalians, Khemites, Sudanese, or North American Africans.
With this term I've tried to emphasize our cultural roots by making Africa the noun rather than the adjective. Also, I wanted to identify us geo-politically: we are Africans on the continent of North America, as opposed to Africans in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia or the Motherland. As such, we are unique and have created an original African Culture in North America, imitated throughout the world.
The whole world wants to talk like us, dance like us, sing like us, dress like us: we have the highest standard of living of any Africans in the world and are thus in the position of leadership even though we lack any degree of National sovereignty, are yet a defacto Nation, albeit captive and colonized, exploited 24/7 by any pimp fearless enough to enter the ghetto, and there are many from around the world, including Asians, Arabs, Jews, Africans, West Indians, and Latins. I refuse to be sympathetic to anyone exploiting North American Africans--call me anti Pan African, anti Third World, whatever, but don't pimp my people and expect me to accept it because you're from Africa or Jamaica. I wouldn't go to Jamaica and exploit Jamaicans, then have the nerve to refer to them as "you people." I would be nice and diplomatic on their turf--then talk about them when I got home.
We are often derided by our African and Caribbean brothers, sometimes called "black Americans" but often simply "Americans," said in the most derogatory manner, as if we're dirt or feces, meanwhile they are in America enjoying the benefits of our struggle with the white man. If everything is so cool in Jamaica, why did they leave their Island in the sun?
With the last statement, we enter the Pan African psycholinguistic crisis, transcending the borders of North America, and perhaps the crisis of the North American African cannot be understood except in terms of the international Pan African struggle for liberation from neo-colonialism, the last stage of imperialism. The colonized man--wherever he is, wherever he's from--is a sick man, mentally ill. And as Franz Fanon pointed out, the only way the colonized man can regain his mental health is through the act and process of revolution. Dr. Nathan Hare tells us in his introduction to my autobiography SOMETHIN' PROPER, that neither messianic religiosity nor chemical dependency will free us. We must grab the bull by the horns or slay the dragon.
I referred to an African as black brother recently. He responded, "Why do you call me that?""What do you want me to call you," I asked. He said, "Call me gentleman." And the beat goes on. Here was a man blacker than night, ashamed of himself, preferring to be called a gentle man rather than Black man, once proud, but now whipped into gentleness, or servility, expressing clearly the mark of oppression, the mark of the beast.
The recent discussion of Ebonics was most certainly an example of the psycholinguistic crisis of North American Africans. Of course we are bilingual, with one pattern of speech used in the "slave huts" and one for the "big house." Technically, if we were able to deconstruct the language of the "slave huts" we would be in a position to deconstruct the "big house" language as well. And why shouldn't deconstruction of the Mother Tongue be the point of departure for acquiring language skills? Let's start with the child's primary language and build; teach the child that even his so-called slang, dialect or African speech patterns can be examined and explained according to the rules of grammar, the universal rules of grammar, i.e., the science of linguistics. Is there any sound, any speech pattern in any language that cannot be explained and thus respected on a scientific level?
We know that no matter what language Africans speak, whether English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, we speak it from an African speech pattern, from an African grammatical structure. Is there a genetic basis for this phenomenon, I'm not sure, but its existence appears universal throughout Pan Africa.
Nigger or Nigguh has caused the most severe psycholinguistic crisis among North American Africans. Earlier we traced its etymology to the Greek Necro, something dead, which is more befitting and functional than the Spanish Negro (black), or Niger, from the river. We became dead beings in the transformation from Africa to America, so quiet as its kept, Negro is very appropriate to call us. Of course the Honorable Eliajah Muhammad said we were so-called Negroes and therefore not truly Negroes, but temporarily under the spell of white magic--white power--which caused us to be deaf, dumb and blind to the knowledge of self and others, therefore dead. We had become the living dead, dispised and rejected around the world, even today, although the vailent struggle of the 60s put us in a more favorable light in the eyes of the world. The dead socalled Negro awakened and shook off the chains on his brain and let the world know he was no longer dead, no longer a tool and fool of the white man. He rejected being called Negro and Nigger and became Black man, the Aboriginal Asiatic Black man, ruler of the planet earth, god of the universe. For a moment, it appeared he truly believed this mythology, which was as valid as any other mythology, at least it was original and Afrocentric. But with the destruction of the black liberation movement, we can say the Negro returned, as per plan of the U.S.A.'s counter intelligence program, Cointelpro: kill the black man and bring back the Negro or shall we say the Nigger that the Master used to know, and to make sure he remains dead, introduce CRACK to make him a first class zombie, the corpse of a man.
Imagine, for the first time in history, the black women lost her ass behind crack, meanwhile the white woman was at Gold's gym working on acquiring an ass, which I must admit, she has obtained. But this point takes us off course into psychosomatics. Let's stay with psycholinguistics.
In the 70s, 80s and 90s, the so-called Negro has been fighting to erase the N word from our vocabulary, particularly brothers in prison who have been the most negroid in their death dealing criminality. Perhaps in their guilt, they have been trying to purify their behavior and speech to gain self respect and dignity--if caught using the N word, they will require the user to do any number of pushups. This is very noble, but the reality is that the N word has now transcended the North American African community and is in wide use by Asian, Latin and white youth who call each other nigguh as a badge of honor. We no longer have a monopoly on our language, and this is another reason for the present crisis: our culture is forever eluding our control, consequently making us the most insecure people on earth. We have lost everything on the good ship America--for three centuries we lost complete and total control over the fruits of our labor, the primary source of security. How else does one secure the family, the women and children?
Not long ago, I heard rappers discussing their tour of Italy. Upon arriving at the airport, the first thing they heard Italian youth discussing was how many "Bitches" they had, obviously influenced by hip hop culture or shall we say specifically gansta rap--yeah, ganstas who when caught are ignorant of a preliminary hearing. But let us deconstruct the controversial term BITCH. Besides Nigger or Nigguh, no other term has caused more controversy of late, no other term has created a crisis situation among North American Africa, prompting the Million Man Marchers to vow never to use the term again. They claimed it demeaned the black woman, the mother of civilization. My personal view is that crack culture demeaned the black man and women to the extent that the term "bitch" has taken on new meaning and now refers to both male and female, and a discussion of the term cannot be limited to the feminine gender. Youth in the dope culture will quickly address a tweeking, fumbing OG as "punk bitch." For example, to a male they will say, "Punk-bitch, you better take this dope and get the fuck up outta here wit da quickness." This sentence is most indicative of the pyscholinguistic crisis because it reveals the utter destruction of filial piety (respect or duty of children to elders) in the North American African community. When adults began buying crack from children, children saw the utter weakness in the older generation and lost total respect which was expressed in verbal denunciations such as "punk bitch." In my recovery drama ONE DAY IN THE LIFE, a youth confronts the late Huey Newton and myself with the following words as we sat in a West Oakland crack house: "Yeah, you nigguhs is dope fiends, you ain't no revolutionaries, so don't say shit to me bout no program. How you gon buy dope from me and my podnas--I mean, I'm in recovery now but when I was a dealer, you couldn't come to me and tell me you some revolutionaries--you some punk-bitch nigguhs. When you get your shit together we'll have some respect fa ya, but until then, don't talk to us bout no revolution, O.G., cause if I saw ya comin on my turf, I'd make a movie out that ass, podna. Don't be no walkin contradiction ma nigguhs."
My associate, J.B. Saunders, asked me to include a word-picture of male "bitch behavior" as expressed in the crack ritual. An example of this comes from the obserevation of monkeys when the female is ready to present herself to the male. She will go to a corner of a cage or by a tree and exposed her rear end to the male, letting hm know he can come and get her or know her as the Bible says. In the crack house, the male bitch will expose his posterior in his ritual of crawling on all fours around the room, supposedly looking for crack, but mainly picking up lint and other particles, even chips of dry wall. The ultimately expression of male bitch behavior is the so-called straight guy who under desperation, i,e. , when the tweeking ritual is exhausted, will present his posterior to the dope dealer--accompanied with the words "I'll do anything for another hit," and perform homosexual acts to obtain more crack, but in his psycho-linguistic crisis he adamantly denies he is gay, all the while swallowing the dope dealer's penis and cum. The worse bitch in the world is the bitch in denial! And even that bitch will--in a moment of scandalous activity declare, "I know I'm a bitch." But why bitch? My views on the matter are prejudiced by the fact that I grew up in a house with six sisters who referred to themselves as bitches--and I must say, many times acted like bitches, if we mean behavior unbecoming a woman--such behavior being acceptable only during PMS or pregnancy! But is it demeaning to say, "That's a fine bitch!" We know words only have the power we give them, i.e., we define words. Bourgeoisie culture cannot define mass culture or the culture of the grass roots. A rich man cannot tell a poor man what to say. If a rich man comes to the poor man's community, he better talk like a poor man or he may be a dead man! Those who want to criminalize black language are in many cases people who are in the business of criminalizing black people for the benefit of the real criminals, the Masters of the Realm. Not only do you not like the way I talk, but you don't like my dress, my eating habits, my choice of drugs, they way I pray and the loud manner of my worship, how I earn a living--my hair or non-hair--actually, you don't like anything about me, in fact, you wish I were dead, if fact, you do everything you can to kill me, in fact, you have now made a new industry of confining me for life without the possibility of parole.
From a writer's perspective, a poet, much of endgame in the psycholinguistic crisis is censorship, pure and simple, a violation of First Amendment rights and human rights. I have a right to say what I want to say the way I want to say it. This is an old tired discussion we encountered thirty years ago in the Black Arts/Black Culture revolution of the 60s: shall we define ourselves or the shall the masters and their pitiful bourgeoisie imps impose their definitions, their hypocritical, perverted moral standards. If a bitch is bitch call her a bitch. If yo mama is a bitch call her a bitch. If your wife is a bitch call it, your daughters call it. The worse bitch in the world is the bitch in denial. And as I've said, men are known to be bitches too!
There was a time when we were kings and queens, in Africa and during the 60s in America, but this was B.C., before crack. With the coming of crack, we reduced ourselves beyond slavery. We returned to the auction block of the crack house, and indeed, in fact, became bitches and hoes. With crack, the sexual etiquette of North American Africans has been forever altered and whether we will again reach the level of kings and queens depends more on the success of our total liberation than our correct grammatical structure, after all, we see Asians, Arabs, Latins, come to America and get rich while speaking no English, yet we are being deluded by our leaders into believing we must speak the Kings English in order to be successful. If nothing else, the rappers have shown us they can make millions for themselves and billions for the white man utilizing three words: bitch, hoe and motherfucker. The tragic reality is that the black bourgeoisie failed to teach inner city youth proper English or anything proper for that matter, so the upper class must reap with rewards of neglect, in the form of their children as well, enraptured by rap and thus incomprehensible to the middle-class parents--as my daughter has said, "You might not like rap, but if you want to understand me, you better try to understand rap." To paraphrase Eryka Badu, the psycholinguistic crisis goes on and on......on and on.....
SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2017
transcending the psycho-linguistic crisis of north american africans
Toward the Unity of North American Africans--Unity of Language
Language unifies a people, when they speak a common language, when there is a consensus on word definitions, an agreement on what terms are sacred and what words are profane and obscene. Chaos comes into a culture when these is no longer a consensus on language, or what we call a psycholinguistic crisis, for words define reality. Words are the vehicle we use to express our interpretation of reality. When the words lose a once agreed upon meaning, it is as though the earth shifts beneath our feet, for we are no longer able to communicate with each other. We then suffer a mental paralysis, a breakdown of the psyche because we are talking loud but saying nothing.
The words thus lose their meaning for there is no agreement. If the culture in its normal state is communal but suddenly the focus shifts to the supremacy of the individual, then we have a problem. We cannot unite for freedom when there is no agreed definition of freedom. For you, freedom is a job. For her, freedom is land and economic independence. For him, freedom is being with same gender loving people, and for her it is the same. Nothing else matters. So what items can we agree upon that defines freedom? And are we going around the corner together or do we have a divisive situation that shall lead us nowhere except to tread water in a pitiful state until we drown, since we refuse to help each other push our agenda items because we don't agree.
We started out on freedom but got diverted into things not communal but individual. Or the language was polluted by class division. The bourgeoisie culture police attempted to define the terms of reality. We wonder by what right do they assume the gate keeper role. Perhaps by being placed into leadership by the oppressor.
In the 1960s, we revolted against the language of the colonial elite, the leadership of the liberation movement shifted because a new consensus on language came into vogue, the language of black power that transcended civil rights to human rights, that shifted from integration to liberation and yes, sometimes, separation. The old language was suddenly obsolete. The term Negro was cast into the dustbin of history. The Negro psycholinguistics shifted from passivity and non violence to revolution.
The Black Arts Movement helped to cause the paradigm shift in terms of language. We revolted from the bourgeoisie socalled proper speech. In our plays, poems, essays, songs, we broke free of the conservative language. We used such terms as motherfucker, yes, bitch, devil, cracker, peckerwoood, and other terms to express our rejection of the American language in favor our our Mother tongue, the raw ghetto language so despised by our culture police, for they were rejected as well. Of course we went to the extreme when we said anyone over thirty should be killed (Bobby Seale). But the expression in grass roots language advanced the freedom mentality in our people. We suddenly realized we can say what we want, we're truly free to do so.
Of course there was reaction, from the oppressor and the colonial elite. The police attempted to ban our plays, to invade our performances, to arrest us if we showed up to perform. The bourgeoisie refused to support us with their money. All this was actually good because it inspired us to continue doing our thing, realizing we were truly independent, no longer slaves to anyone.
We were not able to return to our native language as Ngugi wa Thiango has called upon African writers to do, for we have no idea what it is, though we attempted to learn Swahili, Arabic and Yoruba. And the little we learned helped advance our black consciousness and heal our psycholinguistic crisis. Yes, these languages unified some of us. We held classes in the hood with grass roots people who wanted to transcend the English or American language we called the slave master's language, so how can we ever break free speaking this devil language. This is the language of the kidnapper, the rapist, the man and woman who lynched us, who stole our very identity and replace it with his notion of our very being. Thus, it is he and his language that is profane and obscene, and must be rejected, for it is not the language of love, it is the language of violence and madness.
We thus call for silence as the language of love, since our psycholinguistic crisis is so great it is the cause of physical, emotional and verbal violence with our mates. Almost any word we say is cause for argument. And it is the same when we gather at conferences and gatherings. We must spend an inordinate amount of time debating terms, defining what we mean by freedom, liberation, reparations, gender identity. Yes, what is a woman, what is a man. Today "black brothers" is a gay term. How did "black brother" shift from revolutionary black men to gay men? Of course language is fluid and undergoing constant change. And those with power attempt to define the terms. How else did we come upon this English/American language? It was a violent act, a long process of domination and oppression. Toby was physically abused until he renounced his holy name Kunta Kinte. Muhammad Ali reversed the process, not only by renaming himself but forcing his opponent to call out his name in the ring. Ali chanted, "What's my name, what's my name?" as he beat down his opponent, but he was calling for more than name recognition but for the recognition of his being as a free black man, the member of the Nation of Islam, a transcendence of his American slave identity.
And yet today we have a reaction by the culture police such as Bill Crosby and others who would have us claim our American identity and stop naming our children African and/or Muslim names. He doesn't tell Jose to call himself Joe. He doesn't tell the Chinese who get rich in the hood selling us their food but speaking no English/American to go learn English/American. He don't tell the Arabs who get rich selling us swine and wine in the name of Allah, to stop speaking Arabic in the hood and speak English/America.
Clearly, Bill Crosby suffers a psycholinguistic crisis of major proportion. And he is not alone. It is again for this reason that I call for the language of silence as the language of love, until we can indeed arrive at a new consensus. The Million Man March brothers took a vow to never use the term bitch. But in the hood bitch is clearly a trans-gender term, for males are called bitches these days, especially when they come incorrect in the dope culture. The dope boys will address an adult male dope fiend as punk bitch. "Punk bitch you better take this dope and get the fuck up otter here wit da quickness 'fore I smoke yo ass."
It's possible the language shifted when adults began buying dope from children, especially during the Crack era, reversing the natural order of adults serving children, thus children lost all respect for their elders and this aspect of the psycholinguistic crisis resulted. It was being addressed with this language when I was a dope fiend that made me want to recover so that I would no longer be so verbally debased by children who had every right to talk to me in this manner because I was, as a dope fiend, in the persona of a punk bitch!
There shall be no language of love until we stop behaving like a nigguh or punk bitch. Don't tell me to stop saying motherfucker while you are in bed with your mother, son, daughter. Who is the real motherfucker up in here, me or you? I'm saying it but you doing it!
Language confusion exists when there are contradictions in behavior, especially adult behavior that the children observe. And so when we hear them on the street, at school, in the clubs, in their raps, we must ask ourselves where they got this language from, and more importantly, what is the meaning of it. They are simply trying to do as we did, give order to reality by way of language. Is it better to be silent, to say nothing since the entire language is vile, polluted and corrupted. Let us not go to an examination of the political language, double speak, evasiveness, subterfuge. See George Orwell's Politics and the English Language. Listen to the politicians lie and attempt to deceive the world with words, yes, talking loud but saying nothing. Vote for me, I'll set you free. Change we can believe in. Change is gonna come. A chicken in every pot!
Yes, silence, there are possibilities for unity if, we just be quiet. To speak is to fail the tone test, for anything we say is suspect, for we don't trust the language, the words, and most of all, we are not truthful in our expressions, in short, we have become liars too, in harmony with the ruling class and the culture police or those colonial elite gate keepers in league with the blood suckers of the poor.
Some day we shall arrive at the language of love, where we say what we mean and mean what we say, where we understand the tone test and can pass it, with the police, with a brother and with a sister, especially our mate who was going to make love with us until we said the wrong thing, even though we didn't intend to do so, something just slipped out carelessly, but we blew it. Baby's mood changed because we said the wrong word, or she took it the wrong way.
Let us strive to reach a consensus on this pitiful bastard language we speak, for these words are killing us, literally. Better to speak as little as possible until we can transcend to a language that unifies us and allows us to love each other unconditionally. --Marvin X 12/13/10
No woman no cry no woman no cry no friend no cry no revolutionary no cry no dirt floor no cry no light in night no cry no woman no cry don't take down Trenchtown no poverty no food no light no woman no cry dirt floor no cry roaches fly no cry no shed no tears no woman no cry you culture teacher brother teach culture brother we read til sun down brother no woman no cry we read til sun down no woman no cry --Marvin X
Happy New Year from your friends and family at Allen Temple Health and Social Services!
As we welcome this new year, we are happy to renew our commitment to our mission and purpose through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On this day of service, please join us at our annual breakfast and fundraiser! We will host the following dynamic community servants in a robust conversation on FREEDOM.
Cat Brooks, activist, mother and civil rights leader. Founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, member of Black Lives Matter Bay Area and one of the Black Friday 14.
Kev Choice is an Oakland based Pianist, emcee, producer, bandleader and Music Historian. He has a deep connection to the community and is a cultural historian dedicated to cultural expression and the art of making quality music.
Dr. Arnold Perkins, community servant, consultant and speaker in a number of areas, including youth development, intergenerational work in African American communities, HIV and AIDS, organizational change and community engagement. He works with foundations, government agencies, community groups, law enforcement, hospitals, school districts and others.
Makani Themba, is a social justice innovator and pioneer in the field of change communications and narrative strategy. She has spent more than 20 years supporting organizations, coalitions and philanthropic institutions in developing high impact change initiatives.
Sponsorship and table opportunities are available! Please contact email@example.com
Hip-Hop is one of the widest reaching cultural and social movements of the last 50 years. Discover the unexpected story of how Hip-Hop changed the world, starting from its roots on the streets, before rap, DJing, street art, breakdancing, and street fashion launched into mainstream popular culture. Learn about the West Coast’s and San Francisco Bay Area’s influences on this global phenomenon. Hear first-person accounts from artists and experts about how, beyond big business, Hip-Hop continues to provide a platform for creative expression, activism, youth development, and education.
There is an additional $4 charge for this special exhibition in addition to regular Museum admission.
RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom is supported in part by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and members of the Donor Forum.
Lifer is based on the true life account of events that occurred during Glenn Baileys 52 years of incarceration in the California Penal System.
This work brings a season dedicated to exploring the world of incarceration to an end with this story about the resilience of the human spirit, redemption, and light found in unexpected places.
Lifer is a darkly humorous cautionary tale filled with advice about how to avoid incarceration from the unlikely lead character: a convicted murderer. Glenn Bailey, a lifer at large, after 52 years of incarceration, is intent on saving lives as a way of ascribing value to his own. He is a unique and serenely hilarious yogi-like sage who is shaped by his modes of survival: building relationships, sharp insight and flawlessly honest self-reflection of his own life as well as the system from which he spent five decades learning.
In the silence of centuries trees speak mountains rolling rivers say my name i listen walk tall in the sun snow ice hurricane earthquake no matter terror bombs walk beside me exploding as I gaze upon hill walking into night moon speaks softly guiding me through forest snakes hiss sounds of love hate regeneration I fear them not walk trees chatter who is he this night who those angels beside him we cannot touch him except with love he walks straight like Pine dives into river night swim with lover she came across shore meet under water kiss entangle gracefully perfect dance moon full water warm healing lovers enjoy blessed night birds sing sacred songs fish dance night forest full of light river diamond ripples . lovers bathe retire to shore forest birds symphony night dance to day oh happy day! lover returns to her shore dance of centuries only silence necessary words confuse demon sounds touch and go come again another night consider moon come right correct forest birds salute you sing praise worthy one come home Ache..... --Marvin X 1/5/18
The Movement, the most beautiful writer's journal in the world! Every page is a work of art. It is beauty and truth in living color! Publisher Marvin X is Duke Ellington, Design Editor Adam Turner is Billy Strayhorn. The result is a magical experience of words and graphic design.
Ahed Tamimi is now a statistic. Just one of thousands of Palestinians illegally imprisoned by Israel as it crosses the half way point of its fifty-first year of Occupation – 6154 to be exact. 59 of them women, 250 of them children, and now one more. Ahed is in jail because she “slapped” an Israeli soldier who was occupying her house not long after he or another soldier in his squad shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet, forcing him into a coma. Ahed, along with her cousin and then her mother, came out and started shouting at the soldier to leave, and pushed him. He seemed to push back. She kept shouting and push-hit him several more times, continuing to yell even more. Her mother filmed and then uploaded the scene.
Apparently, Ahed is an existential threat to the state of Israel, and perhaps they’re right. Israeli commentators went ballistic at the viral video, lamenting how she emasculated the soldiers who showed such remarkable restraint in not beating her with the butt of their guns, or just shooting her like her cousin. Not long after, she was seized by security forces, and has since been charged with assault, and her detention extended. No word yet on what the soldier who shot her cousin will be charged with (nor will it ever come).
The first time I met Ahed Tamimi was about five years ago when she was around 11 years old. She wasn’t yet famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view); it was before the video of her threatening an Israeli soldier with her tiny fists, fearless and filled with fury, hit the internet. But it was already clear what she would become: a fighter. She was a hero-in-the-making; a star at the early stages of going nova. Not quite exploding yet but only a matter of time and nothing could stop her. Not her parents, not the rest of her family, not the Israelis unless they killed her.
Nabi Saleh and the Renaissance of Civil Resistance
Like everyone else who meets Ahed I was in her village, Nabi Saleh, to witness weekly demonstrations against the Occupation. Nabi Saleh is a small and picturesque village in the central West Bank overlooking a valley with an important spring. In a normal world, or at least a better one, I’d be visiting with my kids, hiking in the hills, swimming in the spring before settling down to a nice dinner in a family-run restaurant—most of the West Bank is so stunningly beautiful it could compete with Switzerland for both the vistas and the food. But the world and certainly the West Bank are far from normal; and I wouldn’t take my kids there now, not yet anyway. They’re too young to experience what Ahed and the other kids of the village, and every other square meter of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem (not to mention too many refugee camps, from Tripoli to Yarmouk) have lived through for over half a century.
Instead of being a tourist center, Nabi Saleh is a resistance center, one of the most important places on the planet, the site of the real Armageddon (Megiddo) for humanity’s soul. No, I’m not exaggerating. In a powerful column written after Ahed’s arrest Lisa Goldman writes that Nabi Saleh is where she “lost her Zionism.” It’s impossible not to lose your Zionism when you’ve experienced Nabi Saleh. The evil and brutality of the Occupation burn through whatever fantasy of a mythical liberal Zionist dream with which you might have arrived. But I hope that Goldman didn’t only lose part of herself. The experience is far deeper than that. In losing your Zionism, and if you’re being honest, any fantasy of a humane nationalism of whatever ethnicity or creed along with it, you become open to something far more powerful than an out-of-date ethno-religious identity.
Nabi Saleh was where I re-found my humanity. It has become the heartbeat of Zion—the Zion of the Matrix, the post-Apocalyptic holdout for the rainbow vision of what remains of humanity after we destroyed ourselves, not of the nationally and religiously and racially exclusivist Zionism of the real world. Indeed, the only time I feel hope when I’m in Israel or the Occupied Territories is when I’m in Nabi Saleh or one of the other resistance centers, when Palestinians, alongside international and Israeli activists, work together with one goal—to stop the occupation, even at the price of their own well-being and even life (Israeli and international activists have routinely been beaten and even shot during these protests).
Along with the village of Bil’in, and more recently the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, and half a dozen other locations in the West Bank such as Atwani and the Jordan Valley, Nabi Saleh has been the site of regular (for the most part, weekly) protests against the Occupation for much of the last decade. What makes these protests so important is that they have become the testing ground for militant civil resistance against the Occupation, perhaps the most important tool left to Palestinians to hold the line against (turning back is a distant dream) the ever-expanding territorial encroachment by Israel across the majority of the West Bank that remains under its direct control.
I use the term “civil” rather than “non-violent” resistance because the protests are by no means free of violence. They start off that way—every Friday dozens of people gather at the center of the village, pick up their hand made signs, begin their chants, and march one and all—old and young, Palestinians and (Diaspora and even Israeli) Jews, locals and “internationals” – to the patch of hill between the top of the village and the valley road and spring below, which is coveted by the nearby settlement of Halamish (in fact, only six weeks ago, in October, the Israeli government issued orders seizing yet more land from the village to expand the settlement).
But when the marchers approach the top of the hill, the hill itself, which is usually still empty, suddenly fills with Israeli soldiers at the bottom along the road that leads to a nearby military encampment. And then the performance begins. The soldiers tell the protesters to go back; they refuse. They threaten to fire teargas; the people march forward. Either the tear gas starts or some of the kids start to throw stones (they rarely get close to the heavily armed and fully protected soldiers) but within a few seconds the ‘production’ is in full swing. I say ‘production’ because Nabi Saleh is nothing if not theatre; take your pick: theatre of the oppressed, of the absurd—a “dialectical” or “episches Theater” of the type developed by 20th century luminaries like Piscator and Brecht who desperately wanted to create a political theater that could better represent the intense ferment of inter-war Europe, particularly from below.
If it’s a good day, no one gets too badly hurt. The people protest, kids throw stones and taunt the soldiers well over 100 meters away. The soldiers, if they’re not in a bad mood, don’t unload dozens of canisters at a time, and sometimes people make it to the bottom of the hill, where they sit and chant a few feet from the road while the internationals and the Tamimi family takes video and pictures. A few will try to cross the road to reach their spring, which rarely happens as the soldiers inevitably grab them and push them back. When someone does get through, it’s like scoring the winning touchdown at the Super Bowl.
At some point Ahed or one of the older kids gets up and walks over to the Israeli in charge and uncorks a monologue against the Occupation and his presence on her land that is every bit as eloquent as any Martin Luther King, Jr. unleashed against Jim Crow. Ahed has no fear—NO FEAR. Her hair alone, the likes of which have not been seen around here since Samson, could hold its own against a squad, if not a platoon of Israeli soldiers. I think the soldiers actually have a grudging respect for her and her family. They might be enemies, but they know what they’re really doing there, and they know Ahed and her family are doing precisely what they’d do in her position, if they had the courage.
But if the afternoon is getting late and Shabbat and the weekend are beckoning, the soldiers’ fuses invariably get short. At some point the commander calls or signals her father or another family elder in some way and lets them know it’s time to go home, the play is over. Usually the adults try to disperse the crowd at that point. The international activists and the Israelis as well as the older Palestinians usually begin marching up the hill, more or less out of breath from the tear gas but not too much the worse for wear. One or two might be hunched over or have big welts from being hit by plastic coated steel bullets, but if they weren’t shot at too close range, the injury isn’t too serious. The kids stick around and throw a few more stones, but it all fizzles out soon enough. Solidarity and love pervades the air. It’s the closest to Selma most Americans there could ever hope to get, and in that sense it’s truly like reliving history. Because Nabi Saleh is, in a way, Selma.
Sometimes, however, the Israelis are in a particularly pissy mood, and then all hell breaks loose. It’s hard to describe the experience of being caught in one of these attacks. More tear-gas than you can imagine, rubber bullets, real bullets whizzing by (and if you’re unlucky, into) you, sound grenades that can pop your ear drum from meters away. Members of Ahed’s family have been killed in these attacks; one had his head half blown off by a tear gas canister fired at him from close range.
Every year it seems like the gas gets worse. The last time I was there I misread the wind and got lost in a cloud and, for the first time there, felt like I was going to die. The gas paralyzed me, I could neither breathe nor move, and I literally sunk to the ground watching my life go by, before a small hand reach into the haze from above, grabbed me, and with a strength I still can’t comprehend, literally pulled me up the hill above the haze. The hand belonged to Ahed’s cousin Muhammad, then around 11 or 12. The same Muhammad shot in the head earlier in the day when Ahed confronted Israeli soliders responsible for his injuries for which she is now being detained.
Once the performance is over, people either head home back to other towns in the West Bank, to Israel or for many of us, enjoy the ritual of dinner with the Tamimis and a night spent sleeping on their living room floor. In these quiet evening moments Ahed and the other kids actually seem like normal kids, dancing and playing, talking, practicing English with guests when they’re not sitting patiently for interminable interviews by activists and journalists. Meanwhile her father Bassem and uncle Bilal immediately upload the days videos and photos onto the internet to make sure a permanent record of the protests exists. Most of the time it’s rather banal watching, but sometimes they capture the horror of their own family members being shot and killed.
If they’re lucky, Saturday and the beginning of the next week are calm and life returns to normal, at least till next Friday when it begins again. But often it’s not so lucky. If you scroll through the videos on the Nabi Saleh YouTube channel you’ll find innumerable videos of midnight raids by Israeli soldiers, of attacks with “shit water” that is sprayed for no reason all over the village and even inside their home, of family members being dragged away into custody for no reason. Most everyone in the family has been beaten, arrested, and even shot. Ahed and her young kin as well as the women of her village are usually left to fight the Israeli soldiers because if an adult man were to go anywhere near a soldier he’ll be shot dead without a second thought.
Believe me when I tell you that you have no idea what life is like for the people of Nabi Saleh, even when you’ve spent many Fridays with them. Or for the people of Bil’in, or the Jordan Valley, or Jenin, or the Hebron Hills. Never mind Gaza. Simply put, we get to leave. They are fighting for their futures, for their lives. This is Palestine.
My Daughter and Their Daughter
The first Friday I spent with the Tamimi family I texted my daughter, who was then about 8, a picture of Ahed, with the caption “This is the bravest girl I've ever met and I hope you grow up to be like her.” And I meant it, although until Trump was elected President I didn’t think she’d actually have to fight like Ahed, to confront cops here the way Ahed confronts soldiers there. The night Trump won I reminded her of that text, and let her know I might have to bring her to Nabi Saleh sooner than I’d hoped for training. I wasn’t joking, she wasn’t laughing.
Israelis like to criticize Ahed’s role as a child engaged in the struggle against the Occupation, just as they criticized young people throwing stones during the Intifada. They say that the role of children on the front lines shows that Palestinians hate Israelis more than they love their children, and similar arguments. Like many Israeli arguments, this one seems reasonable until you consider it a bit more closely. Let’s start with the obvious question: If Israelis love their kids so much, why do they send them to be brutal occupiers year after year, decade after decade? To shoot, arrest, torture, and kill Palestinians, including thousands of children? Why do they sell their children’s souls for a piece of land that is already inhabited by someone else who’s been there for centuries, when they’ve already conquered most of the land decades ago?
And if Israelis were so concerned about Palestinians children, how come they harm and kill so many of them year after year? Give me a break. Let me be clear: I don’t want my kids anywhere near the violence and hatred I’ve witnessed in Israel/Palestine, but if I were forced to choose, I’d send my kid to fight against a brutal occupation a lot sooner than I’d send her or him to enforce it. I can understand why Bassem watches with pride through the tears as his daughter becomes a leader of the Palestinian struggle before the world’s eyes. I can’t imagine how Israelis can watch as their children arrest, beat, shoot, and otherwise humiliate and oppress Ahed’s family and the entire Palestinian people. As Michael Lerner warned two decades ago, their “settler Judaism” is among the gravest threat to Judaism since the Holocaust. If this is Judaism, Hitler won. If you don’t understand this, you’re not paying attention.
No Way to Stop the Performance
But all this is beside the point, because no one is sending their kids to do anything. It’s impossible to stop them. They are growing up in the midst of an unimaginable and unending Occupation. They live without hope and with trauma and violence that is exceeded in only a few even more tragically star-crossed places like Syria, Yemen, Rohingya, or eastern Nigeria. The only hope they have is in fighting, however they can, against the Occupation. “To resist is to exist” the Zapatistas have long said (and Palestinians as well) – “morir para vivir” (dying in order to live). It’s a common theme wherever oppression rules the land. As I wrote above, no one can control Ahed; not when she was 8, and not when she’ll be 18.
Ahed’s parents could chain her to a bed but I'm sure she'd find a way to break those chains. She could very well single-handedly break the chains of a half-century occupation if the Israelis aren’t careful (and they know this, which is why they’re now trying to lick her away, far from the media, people forget about her). People are already imagining her as the first true President of Palestine. Others worry all the focus and hype directed to her is dangerous and doomed to backfire. I think it’s more likely she’s going to be the first Prime Minister of Israel/Palestine; Israelis would be lucky to have her.
People are also criticizing Ahed and the Tamimis for “staging” or otherwise planning her protests. Of course they do. That’s the whole point. They understand that the only way they stand a chance against the Israelis is to play by the script, by the rules of engagement that both sides in the theater that is that hill have more or less agreed to. The script allows the Tamimis and their supporters to at least slow the inexorable take-over of their land. The Israelis get to use their relative “restraint” to show how moral they are. Except for shooting her cousin, of course. And all the other shootings, beatings, arrests, and so on. And now, of course, arresting Ahed (when they came for her cousin last year she and her mother starred in another viral video, in which they grabbed the soldier and pulled Muhammad away from him, pulling his balaclava off his face in the process).
Finally, Ahed is being criticized for saying in one interview that she supports all forms of resistance, even including suicide bombings. As of the time of writing, I haven’t seen or heard the interview where she allegedly made the comment, and I’ve been told her words were mistranslated or taken out of context, as she was arguing that people shouldn’t be surprised at whatever actions Palestinians take, not endorsing a specific action. But assuming the claim is true, I certainly don't agree with that and if I saw her again I would say so. I also know that’s not at all the position of her family or anyone in the village. Nabi Saleh could as easily become a factory for suicide bombers as Nablus, or Jenin, or Falluja, or Raqqa. But it’s simply utterly foreign to the idea of civil resistance the Tamimis and other Palestinians have developed to use such violence, which they know full well is counter- productive and morally dubious.
Yet this comment also has to be contextualized before being condemned, not least of which by remembering that whatever the historical weight thrust upon her, Ahed remains a young girl who’s lived her entire life under Occupation, and despite the innumerable times she’s repeated the Nabi Saleh mantra of civil resistance, sometimes you just get too pissed, sometimes you can’t stick to the script, even when you more or less believe in it. Let’s remember what former Prime Minister Ehud Barak admitted during the al-Aqsa Intifada: if he were a young Palestinian, he’d have joined a terrorist group. In other words, he wouldn’t be protesting at Nabi Saleh; he’d have long ago blown himself up in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
In reality, the Tamimi family has a long history of nonviolent resistance against a brutal occupation that has stolen their land, brutalized their people, destroyed their homes, and arrested and killed their family. If you want to condemn Ahed’s comment, then you need to condemn the very real violence that has produced it with a lot more vociferousness.
Malala or Mandela?
Not long after her arrest, the scholar Shenila Khoja-Moolji rightly asked why the world has shown such support for Malala Yousafzai, but not for Ahed. Both are young women who’ve faced incredible violence and oppression, and both share the same grit and determination. But it’s also clear that Ahed is a very different person with a different story. She’s suffered less physically, at least so far. But she also didn’t have the luxury of being “saved” by her former colonizer. Spirited away to the UK to be healed, given citizenship, given a Nobel Prize. Feted around the world as a symbol of what a Muslim women can and should be. And, of course, Malala stood up to America’s mortal enemy, the Taliban, while Ahed is fighting America’s darling, Israel. As long as there’s no understanding of how close Israel’s treatment of Palestinians mirrors the Taliban’s treatment of women – no rights, permanent confinement to ever smaller prisons, violence and murder without regard to international law or morality – there’s no chance Ahed will ever be seen in the same light as Malala.
God bless Malala. I bought her book for my daughter. We watched the documentary. I hope she grows up with Malala’s courage and determination. But Ahed doesn’t have that chance. She doesn’t have that fresh start. She probably wouldn’t even get a visa to go to the UK or the US today. She won’t sell millions of books. And the Israelis will likely convict her of assault and stick her in a prison for years, hoping the world forgets about her. Even if they do, they’ll never break her. She may not be Malala, but Ahed could well wind up Mandela. That much becomes clear the moment you meet her.
And it’s our job, the job of every person with a conscience, to support her, her family, and all the Palestinians and their Israeli and international allies who risk so much to fight for the little land that hasn’t been swallowed up by Israel, and in so doing to fight for a future in the Holy Land when Palestinians can breathe the air freely, without tear gas, or shitty water, or the smell of blood and tears, around them; and as important, where Israelis can reclaim their humanity.
Mark LeVine is professor of history at UC Irvine and Tikkun’s longest serving Inner Editorial Board member. He is presently completing a collaboratively written history of the Occupation to be published by the University of California Press. @culturejamming.
I am not an Arab, I am not a Jew Abraham is not my father, Palestine is not my home But I would fight any man Who kicked me out of my house To dwell in a tent I would fight To the ends of the earth Someone who said to me I want your house Because my father lived here Two thousand years ago I want your land Because my father lived here Two thousand years ago. Jets would not stop me From returning to my home Uncle Toms would not stop me Cluster bombs would not stop me Bullets I would defy. No man can take the house of another And expect to live in peace There is no peace for thieves There is no peace for those who murder For myths and ancient rituals Wail at the wall Settle in "Judea" and Samaria" But fate awaits you You will never sleep with peace You will never walk without listening. I shall cross the River Jordan With Justice in my hand I shall return to Jerusalem And establish my house of peace, Thus said the Lord. --Marvin X (Maalik El Muhajir) www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com
A Pan African Nigguh will have a weave or wig and bleach creamed face. You will think she is an American born nigguh until you hear the accent! An African nigguh will get mad when you call him African or especially black. He will hate you for calling him black, and the nigguh is blue black! A Pan African Nigguh will never wear Kenti cloth or native dress, only Sean John and other nigguh attire, but he will sell North American Africans kenti cloth (especially imitation from Korea or China), mud cloth and other African material, statues, soap, Shea butter and other creams, herbes, beads, trinkets, some of the same shit they tricked us over here to endure 400 years of fucking slavery, of which the African ruling classes benefited. Only one African has apologized to me for his people selling us into slavery, the Ghanian brother Kokoman of Oakland. He said, "Marvin, I want to apologize for my people selling your people into slavery." I accepted his apology on behalf of Mother Africa, for in trade there are buyers and sellers and both benefit, so imagine if the white man accumulated surplus capital, so did the African ruling class, so they owe us reparations as well as the white man. Imagine, there were Jews who sent Jews into Hitler's gas chambers. Not only did Negroes half slaves, but there are Negroes today with shares on the stock market as per the commodity of prisoners and private prisons traded on the stock exchange. As Rev. Cecil Williams of San Francisco's Glide Church said, "Marvin, Wall Street is still a slaver mart!" A Haitian taxi driver in Newark, New Jersey, said to me, "Broder, Africans sold us once, look like they want to sell us again!"
Of course the Pan African Nigguh is a victim of neo-colonialism as are all nigguhs. This is why I titled by manual How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, a Pan African healing manual.
The white man will allow his colonial elite nigguhs to come to America and teach North American Africans black and/or African studies, after all, North American Africans are not "real Africans". Further, native Africans and Caribbean Africans are more truth worthy than North American Africans, so native and Caribbean Africans are preferred as security guards, especially on the East Coast. They are preferred as security guards in Harlem and Brooklyn, New York. Finally, native Africans claim native Africans are in worse mental shape than North American African Nigguhs! We didn't know anything or anyone could be in worse shape than the USA nigguh, afterall, we say, "A nigguh ain't shit," so how can anyone else be lower than feces?
Even if the North American African Nigguh ain't the worse nigguh in the world, he's still a motherfucker, especially them pseudo-conscious (my daughter Amira's term) who say they Woke but are walking zombies from the world of make believe (Frazier, Black Bourgeoisie). These Hotep nigguhs try to be more African than Africans, i.e., real Africans. They've been to Africa numerous times but spent all their time trying to hook up with other North American Africans. After all, when the welcome home brother talk is exhausted and as they search for other North American Africans in the streets of Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa and are referred to as "American slaves," they conclude they are not African after all, and reconcile to be North American African nigguhs. For sure, they know no American slave can marry into any African royal family. Africans ain't going for that British royal family shit with that bitch from South Central marrying the prince!
But ask the pseudo-conscious North American African Nigguh who is the Original Man, Woman? Who is the devil? Who is the white woman? Why won't the devil allow us to integrate or have social equality with him? Who made the devil through genetic engineering as the devil himself is making men today? Aside from the ignut NAA Nigguh, even brothers who learned Supreme Wisdom will confess, "Yes, I got Supreme Wisdom, I got it but I didn't get it!" These brothers, so called Lost/Found, are, along with other NAA Nigguhs, "lost and turned out on the way to Grandmother's House," (Whispers).
If Master Fard Muhammad came here in 1930, and Noble Drew Ali was here before, and Marcus Garvey as well, then Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Farrakan, and we ain't got no independent nation yet, it ain't gonna happen no time soon. Even with the coming Balkinization of America, it is doubtful the North American African Nigguh will achieve independence and self determination, even though other ethnicity's will do so. For sure, at the present rate of progress, there will surely be a nation of La Raza, La Raza, La Raza. In fact, La Raza might control the whole enchilada! Por favor, if California ain't La Raza, La Raza, ain't no La Raza! Fyi, as a NAA Nigguh from the central valley of Cali, Fresno, I am not against La Raza, Furthermore, Mexico gave me refuge when I had to flee the USA in opposition to the Vietnam War, so I love and appreciate La Raza who helping me in my hour of need. Additionally, during my exile in Mexico City, I saw the most wretched poverty any human being can imagine: houses with dirt floors but TVs and alters to the Catholic church who owns most of the land in Latin America. Therefore, I cannot blame anyone for fleeing the Americas to Ustados Unidos!
But, as per NAA Nigguhs, what is our agenda? We Hip Hop, we Hotep, we Kemetic, we Pan African, we we we don't have an agenda, yet we want to come to the table to cut up the pie of these United Snakes. Don't ask me what you mean Agenda? Motherfucker, what part of the pie do you want, Nigguh? For sure, when this USA balkinizes, Whitey go get his part, La Raza too, Asia too, Gay/Lesbian, LEGPTIFGQUEXZ go get theirs, so what part do you want of the pie, Nigguh?
You so motherfuckin Hip Hop, Pan African, Kemetic, multicultural, interracial, inter sexual, what do you want? Don't talk about Donald Trump's America First, Elijah Muhammad taught us Self First. Didn't yo mama and daddy teach you charity begins at home and spreads abroad? Help yo self first, Nigguh! How can you be for everybody but not for yourself? What part of African philosophy is this?
Is it that part Chancellor Williams talked about in Destruction of African Civilization, where we allowed all enemies into our land, yes, in the African tradition of welcoming the stranger, while Diop taught us in his Cultural Unity of Africa, that the Northern Cradle tradition was to kill the stranger then ask questions! What you doing in on my land, in my house, bitch?
Maybe we need to learn some shit from the Northern Cradle, we've learned everything else from these motherfuckers, learn the real low down dirty shit, Self First!
Oh, we don't need a nation, we can be with everybody. Yeah, fool, only thing, everybody ain't with you! La Raza go get theirs, alas, already got it! Aboriginals go claim theirs, Asians, same gender loving people, so where you gonna be, not again on the lowest rung of the multi-cultural ladder! Is is Nigguh a damn fool too? Yes.
Nigguh, Nigger, Negro, defined. In the science of Linguistics or the study of language, which is broken down into consonants and vowels, according to Grimm's Law, the consonants C,K and G are interchangeable or equal, thus Negro, Nigro, Necro, Nekro mean the same: something dead, as in Necropolis, City of the Dead. So a nigguh, nigger, negro, is essentially a dead motherfucker. Elijah Muhammad said a Negro was a tool and fool. One of his cartoonist showed us a tool rack and the negro was hanging among the tools. Of course, Elijah said we were not Negroes but so-called Negroes since we were dead to knowledge of self, kind and others. Holy Qur'an said we were deaf, dumb and blind.
Nigguh behavior. The most notable personality trait of a NAA Nigguh is that he/she/they will hate you for helping them. FYI, I helped a NAA Nigguh family win a million dollar lawsuit, after which they hated me and didn't give me a chicken bone. Nigguhs! I will stop saying Nigguh when Nigguhs stop acting like Nigguhs. What did Dr. Cornel West say, "How is the NAACP going to have a funeral to bury the N word while they still act like Nigguhs?"
The black culture police are at it again, lead running dog is Rev. Jesse Jackson, perhaps the most hypocritical culture policeman on the scene--especially after leading president Clinton in prayer over Monica while himself engaged in extramarital shenanigans. I can't take Jesse Jackson with his twisted mouth ( from lying) pontificating on moral issues while he is the most immoral of men, even pimping the blood of MLK, Jr. The culture police continue to focus on the N word as in Nigguh or Nigger, depending on whether one is into Ebonics or Euronics. Now Nigguh/Nigger has become a billion dollar word, thanks to rappers. It is used around the world on the rap scene and used by the multicultural hip hop generation. Yes, a white boy, Asian, Latino or others can be called nigguh. Language is fluid and dynamic, not static, thus, definitions of words, connotations and denotations change with time. The conservative cultural police are stuck in a time warp, suffer cultural lag and other psycho pathologies. They want to deal with surface structure rather than deep structure issues. They abhor the term motherfucker while they fuck their mothers and daughters, even sons. They abhor the term nigguh because they are the real nigguhs, faking like they black. As James Brown says in one of his songs, "Talkin Black but living negro."
As a writer, I am opposed to censorship in any way, for any reason. Nigguh is one of the most powerful words in the American language, certainly in the language of North American Africans, and it's silly to think we are going to stop using the N word--I am not, so Nigguh please tell the culture police to kiss my black nigguh ass.
If there were people in my audience talking or heckling me, I would/will tell them to get their black nigguh asses out my concert, or come up to the mike and take over, since it is obviously their show and they have something important to say to the audience. It is time for political correctness to enter the dustbin of history. Call a spade a spade and stop tweaking. How in the hell can we get mad at the white boy when we use nigguh every day of our lives. And when we ain't using nigguh, for sure we are acting like nigguhs, talkin loud, saying nothing--or more precisely doing nothing. Nigguh, please!
The rats all have the same gait: they scurry about, back broken by an abundance of lies, half-truths and disinformation, defamation and other tactics of rat behavior. Even their facial expressions have a rat like appearance, so you can see them coming a mile away. You can smell a funky rat. We suspect the two legged variety even has a tail hidden inside their pants or underneath their dresses, yes, there are rats of every gender, every color, class. Some are sewer rats, some are wharf rats, some are subway rats, church rats, house rats. But their behavior is the same. They are on the lower level of humankind, these two legged rats. They can do nothing right. They cannot give justice even with the scale in view while they weigh goods. They will lie while you look at them playing with the scale. They will try to convince you the scale doesn't work while it is their minds that have not evolved to work on the human level.
There is only one thing to do with such rats: set a trap for them or feed them poison cheese and watch them puke and vomit until they die. Better yet, let the cat catch their asses. It is beautiful watching the cat catch a rat, seeing how still the cat will become while stalking his prey. But the cat will lie in wait for the rat as long as it takes, never moving, never batting his eye. And then he leaps upon his prey and devours him. It is a beautiful sight when when the cat and rat game reaches the climax and ends with the consumption of the rat by the cat. --Marvin X 7/15/15
"When you listen to Tupac Shakur, E-40, Too Short, Master P or any other rappers out of the Bay Area of Cali, think of Marvin X. He laid the foundation and gave us the language to express black male urban experience in a lyrical way."
--James G. Spady, Philadelphia New Observer
LtoR: BAM founder Amiri Baraka, Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale, BAM babies Dr. Ayodele Nzinga and Ahi Baraka, BAM co-founder Marvin X. This pic was taken in Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. photo Gene Hazzard
FYI, The archives of Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement are part of the Respect Hip Hop Exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California, March 2018.
Hip-hop’s television takeover
The ceremony for the 60th Grammy Awards is still two weeks away, but already music’s biggest TV night has made history.
For the first time, hip-hop artists comprise the majority of nominees chosen in the academy’s top categories, including record, album and song of the year.
But that sound you’re hearing isn’t champagne corks popping in celebration. It’s exasperated sighs that the Recording Academy only just discovered what the rest of the entertainment industry noticed back in the flip-phone era: Hip-hop, once an outlier, is now the status quo.
From Broadway’s “Hamilton” to Hollywood’s “Straight Outta Compton” to television’s “Atlanta,” hip-hop’s domination of American pop culture has defied countless predictions that a nervous white mainstream would never fully embrace a trend born out of the urban, black experience.
Consider hip-hop’s television takeover. Today, rappers are not only backing films about the black experience, but they are creating, producing and starring in top-rated cable and network series and breaking out of music categories at film and television award shows.
“Atlanta” creator and star Donald Glover — who under his rap name, Childish Gambino, is up for five Grammys — made history when he won a directing Emmy in September for his breakthrough FX comedy, a cable ratings success, about the everyday trials and tribulations of an aspiring hip-hop entrepreneur. No other black director had ever won an Emmy in the comedy category, and Glover was the first director since Alan Alda in 1977 to win for a comedy in which he also starred.
“I wanted to show white people you don’t know everything about black culture,” he told the awards ceremony audience, some of whom had already watched him win two top Golden Globes for the show earlier in 2017.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who shattered records and expectations when his hip-hop musical “Hamilton” swept the 2016 Tonys, is now executive producing a forthcoming Showtime series, “The Kingkiller Chronicle,” based on characters from the fantasy books by Patrick Rothfuss.
And hitting Showtime this month was the already critically acclaimed “The Chi” from “Master of None’s” Lena Waithe, the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing, and hip-hop star Common, the first rapper to win an Emmy, Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe. (Before Oprah and Meryl Streep, he gave what had been the Golden Globes’ most inspirational speech — “I am” — delivered with the poetic rhythm of a rap when he and John Legend accepted the 2015 original song award for “Glory” in Ava DuVernay’s civil rights drama “Selma.”)
“I was surprised by it all,” Common said about the accolades.
It was one of many in a string of “crossover surprises”: Fox’s hip-hop themed drama “Empire” became a surprise success with white audiences; soccer moms across America were surprised they couldn’t stop humming Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” in favor of something — anything — else; and a biopic about once-feared gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A, “Straight Outta Compton,” became a surprise hit at the box office.
The surprise, however, is that anyone was surprised.
“Hip-hop is the soundtrack of at least one, probably two generations now,” says Common (aka Lonny Rashid Lynn Jr.), who is an executive producer on the Waithe-run series about everyday life on the South Side of Chicago. “People used to be afraid of it or consider it the music of gangsters or thugs, or whatever. But now, it’s part of everything … and everyone under the age of 40.”
From the jaunty 1980s McDonald’s jingles that still haunt Gen Xers today to raunchy rapper Method Man’s current role as a congenial TV game show host for the millennial-skewing “Drop the Mic,” hip-hop is now part of our cultural DNA. Tupac Shakur, Lauryn Hill and Eminem are to a generation what the Beatles and Stones were to boomers — the artists of their youth.
And in some cases, the actors of today were the rappers of their parents’ generation.
Ice-T, the once-controversial “Cop Killer” rapper whose breakthrough film role was in 1991’s “New Jack City,” has played a sex crimes detective on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” since 2000. “If you’re 17 now, that means I started when you were two,” he said in the past. “So you don’t have a reference point for me as a rapper. Your mother does, your father does….”
Rap, after all, was the genre that gave us TV and film personalities like Queen Latifah, Will Smith, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Redman, Method Man and Tupac — and we’re not even into the 2000s yet. Their popularity would eventually give rise to more and more shows about or starring hip-hop figures. When ABC recently canceled “The Mayor,” about an aspiring rapper who becomes mayor of his hometown, there were no outcries over the dearth of black leads on TV — people were too busy looking forward to “The Chi” and the upcoming March premiere of “Atlanta’s” second season.
“When I used to get my Entertainment Weekly and I’d look at the fall TV previews,” said Method Man (aka Clifford Smith), “there was so many years when there weren’t any black shows premiered. I remember one year, there was only like one new fall show premiering that featured people of color: ‘The Cleveland Show’ — and that was animated, and the lead voice was done by a white guy!”
Lee Daniels’ “Empire” was the clearest example of hip-hop as a crossover bridge to break color barriers when it premiered on Fox in 2015 and obliterated conventional wisdom that a “black” drama was for black audiences. After all, why would an entire generation raised on Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” consider a show about a hip-hop family dynasty as anything but meant for them?
Instead of waiting for Hollywood and television studios to let them in, many hip-hop artists formed their own multimedia production companies or began crowdsourcing funds to create their own content.
Ice Cube (aka O’Shea Jackson) alone launched an entire genre of black comedies for the post-Run DMC generation in the “Friday” and “Barbershop” series. The stone-cold gangsta who had referred to himself as the “[N-word] you love to hate” reinvented himself as everyone’s dad in the “Are We There Yet?” films.
Taking cues from pioneers like Ice Cube, Pharrell co-executive produced a love letter to 1990s hip-hop, the coming-of-age film “Dope.” Beyond his work with Common, crooner John Legend, who came up in the hip-hop world, co-produced a WGN America series about slavery, “Underground.” Rapper 50 Cent was behind the Starz series “Power.”
Ice Cube and Dr. Dre avoided the curse of the corny rap biopic (e.g., “Notorious”) by co-producing their own story in “Straight Outta Compton.” “NCIS: Los Angeles” star and five-time Grammy host LL Cool J now co-produces his own game show, “Lip Sync Battle.” Clearly his 1990s self was onto something when he rapped about “Rockin’ [his] peers.”
Queen Latifah (aka Dana Owens) and Will Smith also created their own production companies after experiencing success on their respective hit series, “Living Single” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Netflix recently teamed up with Smith for its biggest gamble to date, “Bright,” a streaming version of a Hollywood blockbuster. Though critically panned, the production was streamed an astonishing 11 million times over three days when it was released last month and has been greenlit for a sequel.
Demand is high for the cachet, the perspective and, of course, the money that a rap celebrity and elder statesman like Jay-Z brings to a production. “Selma” and “Wrinkle in Time” director Ava DuVernay recently worked with Mr. Bey for his “Family Feud” music video, a short released exclusively on his streaming service, Tidal.
It’s not just recognizable star power from the music world that’s drawing viewers toward shows and films that take their cues from the rap world. HBO’s “Insecure” and the CW’s “Black Lightning” are heavily steeped in rap references — such cultural shorthand would have been unthinkable 15 years ago beyond BET or MTV.
Reality TV on those Viacom-owned networks has served as a major stepping stone for hip-hop stars transitioning from music to TV — and beyond.
Let’s face it, when “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” is renewed for a second season (which kicked off last year), a barrier has not only been broken, it’s been entirely erased. “I don’t know who’s going to be more fried by the end of this show,” joked the perfect hostess with the “Gin & Juice” rapper in the first season.
VH1’s reality show “Love & Hip-Hop” gave us Cardi B. “Surreal Life” and “Strange Love” made Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav a household name 20 years after he was last a household name. “Run’s House” and, yes, even “The Vanilla Ice Project,” a home improvement show, were canaries in a coal mine for the acceptance of the brash likes of Nicki Minaj on Middle America’s go-to show, “American Idol.”
Rappers who are used to saying it all — unedited, with abandon and on the fly — make for the best and most unpredictable reality stars. As for scripted television and film, the tradition of storytelling at the base of rap as far back as Kurtis Blow and the Sugarhill Gang is what makes hip-hop so attractive to narrative-hungry mediums.
Says Common, “rappers are storytellers, and that is a timeless tradition no matter who is watching or listening.” And clearly, this year, the Grammys finally are.
You didn't know Trump was a white nationalist? Now you know! You didn't know he was a devil? Now you know! Did you know Europe and America under developed Africa, Haiti and other "shitholes" around the world, the result of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, neocolonialism and globalism? Don't blame the white man for being white. Do you blame a dog for being a dog? Yes, Trump is the white lash. He's going to whip Toby back to Kunta Kinte, yes, with the black bull whip of white power! Welcome back, Kunta! FYI, America is the biggest shithole on earth, the filthy dungeon of oppressed people suffering wage slavery and mental slavery with full blown addiction to white supremacy type I and II (Dr. Nathan Hare).
Did you know the City of Oakland established the Black Arts Movement Business District
January 19, 2016?
And two years later you don't know about the BAMBD? Ask your City Councilperson for the area, Lynette McElhaney? Ask why our banners don't fly along the BAMBD, the 14th Street corridor from the lower bottom to Lake Merritt, and four blocks north and south?
Ask why no budget has been allocated for the BAMBD. Isn't this similar to Juneteenth and post slavery? They said we were free, yes, we learned one year later in Texas, but weren't given the trappings of freedom such as forty acres and a mule. The Black Arts Movement Business District is part of the City of Oakland's Downtown Plan for the next 25 to 50 years, but there is no equity in business development, housing, jobs, cultural and art space and other amenities.
At the present rate of development and gentrification in the BAMBD, we can only look forward to being museum objects, similar to the Black cultural district in Austin, Texas, i.e., the district has few Black people due to development and gentrification.
On behalf of the North American African community, the BAMBD CDC or community development corporation has been established as an independent entity from the City of Oakland. If the last two years are an index of Oakland's snail paced bureaucratic process, we clearly don't wish to be caught at the whim of ephemeral regimes. The BAMBD must stand on solid ground for the present and future.
Whole Foods has been attacking folks of color within the past two years—going as far as attacking and racially profiling two black men, and a young, black teenager in recent reports. Their gentrifying organization must be held accountable for the threat they have posed to our community and it’s time that we make some noise to show resistance and intolerance to racial terror on any and all fronts.
Join us, next Tuesday (1/23) from 3:30-5:30 PM as we hold a noise demo in front of the store to demonstrate our intolerance for racism in our communities. Please bring any safe objects you have to make noise, signs, and bright spirits as we show up for the folks who were affected and targeted by this racist institution. It is imperative that we address racism on all fronts in our communities—especially in recent light of honoring King’s legacy and the path he has helped to pave with his work. We have to continue to take to the streets EVERY day, and address issues as we see them rather than depending on others to do the work first.
When: Tuesday, January 23rd Time: 3:30-5:30PM Where: Whole Foods Market 230 Bay Pl, Oakland, CA 94612
Direct all questions, comments, or concerns to:
Hope to see you all there! Love & Solidarity!
Boycott Whole Foods Oakland and its racism!!
Yet another case of blatant racism and racial profiling at another new Oakland establishment has occurred! I’ve witnessed this multiple times at different stores in Oakland, we all know we have and too often I’ve just grit my teeth and accepted that as way it has to be. But this most recent incindent involving a 13 year old child buying gifts for his mother and him being racially profiled twice in the same store over a year apart!!?? http://fiveo.us/?p=334 That means there’s an issue. I want to force Whole Foods Oakland and board members of Oakland’s developers committee to sit and have a discussion and be held accountable for this grievance against the black community. Please sign and help move this along, share it wide , give suggestions, I’ve never done something like this before but I couldn’t stay silent any longer , any help from established activists would be appreciated. We need change , I don’t know if it will happen in our lifetime but we have to try.
Our world today is not only a world in crisis but also a world in profound movement, with increasingly large numbers of people joining or forming movements: local, national, transnational, and global. The dazzling diversity of ideas and experiences recorded in this collection capture something of the fluidity within campaigns for a more equitable planet. This book, taking internationalism seriously without tired dogmas, provides a bracing window into some of the central ideas to have emerged from within grassroots struggles from 2006 to 2010. The essays here cross borders to look at the politics of caste, class, gender, religion, and indigeneity, and move from the local to the global.
What Makes Us Move?, the first of two large volumes, provides a background and foundation for understanding the extraordinary range of uprisings around the world: Tahrir Square in Egypt, Occupy in North America, the indignados in Spain, Gezi Park in Turkey, and many others. It draws on the rich reflection that took place following the huge wave of creative direct actions that had preceded it, from the 1990s through to the early 2000s, including the Zapatistas in Mexico, the Battle of Seattle in the United States, and the accompanying formations such as Peoples' Global Action and the World Social Forum.
Edited by Jai Sen, who has long occupied a central position in an international network of intellectuals and activists, this book will be useful to all who work for egalitarian social change----be they in universities, parties, trade unions, social movements, or religious organisations.
Contributors include Taiaiake Alfred, Tariq Ali, Daniel Bensaid, Hee-Yeon Cho, Ashok Choudhary, Lee Cormie, Jeff Corntassel, Laurence Cox, Guillermo Delgado-P, Andre Drainville, David Featherstone, Christopher Gunderson, Emilie Hayes, Francois Houtart, Fouad Kalouche, Alex Khasnabish, Xochitl Leyva Solano, Roma Malik, David McNally, Roel Meijer, Eric Mielants, Peter North, Shailja Patel, Emir Sader, Andrea Smith, Anand Teltumbde, James Toth, Virginia Vargas, and Peter Waterman.
"Possible futures right now in the making become legible in how The Movements of Movements doesn't shy away from the complex and unsettling issues that shape our time while thinking through struggles for social and ecological justice in the wider contexts of their past and present."
----Emma Dowling, Friedrich Schiller University
"This collection offers a thought-provoking opportunity to parse multiplicities and recent directions in global justice organizing. Jai Sen's framing in this book sets us up to take stock of two decades of social and political movement in terms of dynamic motion----not only as strategy and organization, but as kinaesthetic experience, embodied transformation through space and time."
----Maia Ramnath, author of Decolonizing Anarchism
"This is an important contribution to a developing internationalism that doesn't assume that the North Atlantic left has all the answers for the rest of the world and which recognizes that emancipatory ideas and practices are often forged from below."
----Richard Pithouse, Rhodes University
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Jai Sen, based at the India Institute for Critical Action: Centre in Movement (CACIM), is an activist, researcher, and author on and in movement. He has intensively engaged with the World Social Forum and contemporary emerging movements on a world scale, as moderator of the listserv WSFDiscuss and as coeditor of several books including World Social Forum: Challenging Empires and World Social Forum
What make god and goddess happy? Original man/woman Aboriginal everywhere find us traces bones in sand primitive art Picasso copy copy cats plagiarists original man mad in babylon generational no post traumatic slave syndrome traumatic in the now slave now tech brain only no original mind cell phone mind where you at where you at Google nigga white woman tell you where she at where you at is the question where you at 2018 in the rain scared of Trump Rocket Man #1 you scared of little Kim Rocket Man #2 Who got most rockets who's finger button always works Rocket Man #1 Shithole man #1 Last hurrah savage no civility discipline Sun Ra said Space is the Place party ova here emergency situation run faya life grab children, husband wife If you resist he will flee from you You flee in name of Allah "You shall find many places of escape abundant resources." Al Qur'an
Tribe of Shabazz Greater Taker Allahu Akhbar no more blues man woman Allahu Akhbar Flee to Upper Room escape dungeon mind be other side of time infinity everybody star shine star little light shine Mutabaruka say don't stay white man land too long African, Kemet, Aboriginal, Crime in street negro problem no, negro solution no white man solution Chinese Arab Latin don't let devil catch ya naked riddin' dirty travel light hide from fools As-salaam Alaikum fool Allahu Akhbar fool Al hamdulilah fool Aoutho bilahi mina s shaitani r rajim fool.
For Lorraine Hansberry, art was not simply an expression of her civil rights concerns but a space where she could wage racial and gender battles and find resolutions that were more liberating than the law.
David Attie, Lorraine Hansberry was the first African-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway, with “A Raisin in the Sun.”
A few months before her death from pancreatic cancer in early 1965, the playwright Lorraine Hansberry spoke about a letter to the editor that she sent to, but that was ultimately rejected by, The New York Times. Standing before a racially integrated Town Hall audience in New York, Ms. Hansberry, then 34, sought to counter the growing white liberal criticism of the racial militancy expressed by a younger generation of African-Americans. “And I wrote to The Times and said, you know, ‘Can’t you understand that this is the perspective from which we are now speaking?’” Hansberry said. “It isn’t as if we got up today and said, you know, ‘what can we do to irritate America?’ you know. It’s because that since 1619, Negroes have tried every method of communication, of transformation of their situation from petition to the vote, everything. We’ve tried it all. There isn’t anything that hasn’t been exhausted.” This image of Hansberry — exasperated, fatigued and sympathetic to the nationalist ideologies that would later blossom in the Black Power movement — might surprise those who know her only through the success of “A Raisin in the Sun.” With that much-lauded play, about a working-class African-American family on the verge of racially desegregating a Chicago suburb, Hansberry became the first African-American woman to have a show produced on Broadway, in 1959. But for Tracy Heather Strain, showing there was much more to Hansberry than “A Raisin in the Sun” was the imperative driving the making of “Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” which debuts Jan. 19 on “American Masters” on PBS. This includes her radical leftist politics as well as her struggle to identify publicly as a black lesbian in the 1950s and 1960s. “I started with the notion that people did not know who Lorraine Hansberry was,” Ms. Strain said. “I didn’t either, really. You see these pictures, she’s wearing the pearls, her hair’s all done. She’s an icon, the picture of success during the civil rights movement.” Ms. Strain, 57, was 17 when she discovered Hansberry. But it was not through “A Raisin in the Sun,” which has had critically acclaimed revivals on Broadway (in 2004 and 2014) and has inspired other work like Bruce Norris’s “Clybourne Park” and Kwame Kwei-Armah’s“Beneatha’s Place.” Her introduction came in 1978 in her hometown, Harrisburg, Pa., during a performance of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” a play that Hansberry’s ex-husband and literary executor, Robert Nemiroff, adapted posthumously from her unpublished letters and diary entries. “I’d never encountered a young black woman sharing her inner thoughts before, and those thoughts and observations were remarkably similar to the ones that I had about things like race, gender and class,” Ms. Strain said. “It stayed in the back of my mind for a long time.” As she pursued a career in documentaries, producing and directing documentaries like “Unnatural Causes” (2008) and “I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts” (1999), Ms. Strain found herself drawn to her subject. She produced and directed a short TV segment on “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1999. Five years later, she met with Chiz Schultz, a film producer who not only had exclusive access to Hansberry’s materials, but was also in search of a director for his Hansberry documentary. (Mr. Schultz is an executive producer on the film, which was budgeted at $1.5 million.) Through interviews with the original cast of the stage and film versions of “A Raisin in the Sun,” including Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett Jr., as well as her fellow artist-activist, Harry Belafonte, Ms. Strain tries to capture the revolutionary nature of Hansberry’s play. “It was like Lorraine opened a new chapter in theater,” Ms. Dee recalls in the film, describing the standing ovation and riveting response on opening night. “That included black people.” LaTanya Richardson Jackson, the narrator of “Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” whose performance as Lena Younger in the 2014 Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” received a Tony Award nomination, sees the character of Beneatha, Lena’s adult daughter, as ahead of her time. Not only does she turn down the advances, and in one case a marriage proposal, from her two male suitors, but she also plans to be a doctor and proclaims to be atheist in a staunchly Christian household. “She had a very feminist, ‘why not me’ point of view, whereas her mother just assumed the status quo of ‘your brother should lead the family,’” Ms. Jackson said. “She respected that, but she also challenged that his notion of living was any better than hers.” Like Beneatha, Hansberry was an intellectual in an era when women and African-Americans were denied full admission into that rarefied category. “The stereotype of African-Americans in this country was that we weren’t thinkers, but Hansberry was thinking, batting around ideas, putting forth ‘what ifs’ and challenging suppositions that everyone else took for granted,” Ms. Jackson said. The film emphasizes that despite the success of “A Raisin in the Sun,” Hansberry was frustrated with the common interpretation of it as a play of optimism or integration. Her family history helped shape her beliefs about the limits of turning to the courts for racial justice. Her parents’ legal challenge of Chicago’s restrictive racial housing covenants, in a case that went to the Supreme Court in 1940, was successful, but black and white people remained segregated and mob violence often greeted the African-American families that moved in, such as hers. And “my father died a disillusioned exile in another country,” Hansberry lamented at that Town Hall meeting. Hansberry responded to her father’s fate by moving beyond theater to pursue her larger goal of social change. Seeking to underscore the racial particularities of her play, for example, she tried again with a film version of “A Raisin in the Sun.” The studio rejected her first two screenplay drafts and finally accepted the third one; ultimately, the film was not as successful as the play. “Hansberry experimented with a variety of forms, which includes the essay, long-form fiction, short stories as well being a visual artist and a painter,” said Imani Perry, author of the forthcoming “Looking for Lorraine: A Life of Lorraine Hansberry” and a professor of African-American studies at Princeton. “And she was also was fairly ecumenical in terms of her political activism.” Hansberry was concerned with racial justice, colonialism and feminism; she joined the Communist Party and led the Young Progressives group at the University of Wisconsin in 1948. For Hansberry, however, art was not simply an expression of her civil rights concerns but a space where she could wage racial and gender battles and find resolutions that were more liberating than the law. The documentary also wrestles directly with her sexuality, rather than avoid or allude to Hansberry’s same-sex relationships (the way some recent documentaries on James Baldwin and Nina Simonehave). Her lesbianism was a source of conflict and comfort and helped shape her feminist politics. The film also recognizes that even though Hansberry never denied her attraction to women, she did not actively publicize it. Instead, as she was working on the play that canonized her place in the civil rights movement, she was also writing, under the initials L.H.N. or L.N., letters to “The Ladder,” the first subscription-based lesbian publication in the United States. Hansberry’s preoccupation with women’s financial and sexual independence was not limited to these semi-anonymous letters, but a theme that she infused throughout her work, even “A Raisin in the Sun.” Though she may have written in an era that precedes “what we think of mainstream feminist movement,” Ms. Perry said, “Hansberry stands out today because she was thinking about what a feminist future looks like.”